Skin Problems in Cats


I have a 6 year old blue calico and she has a skin rash on her tummy that she licks until she is red and raw. Can you give me any idea's on the problem.


Skin rashes in cats, especially the ones where you see the cat actually licking excessively, are almost always due to an allergy to something. In rare cases, it can be a psychological problem, sort of like a obsessive/compulsive disorder.

The most common allergy that cats experience is flea allergy. If a cat is allergic to fleas, one bite can make the cat frantically itchy. A cat can therefore be suffering from flea allergy and yet not a single flea can be found. In those cases, unless there is something else really obvious, I recommend daily combing with a flea comb and the application of Frontline once monthly.

Of course, there are other allergies cat experience. They can pretty much be allergic to anything in their environment or to food. It can be a difficult process to find out what a cat is allergic to. There are blood tests that are fairly reliable these days and there are the same old-fashioned, but highly accurate skin tests that are administered to people.

A visit to the vet would be in order. If that is not possible immediately, then combing for fleas and using Frontline is advised. However, it sounds like your kitty is pretty uncomfortable if she is itchy enough to lick or scratch herself until she's red and raw. Your vet would be able to provide her with some relief from the itchiness as well as try to determine the underlying cause.

Thank you for writing. This is not an uncommon problem. Please see the other questions and answers in this section.

Dr. Neely


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